Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dialect Deviance

Have you ever loved a movie? I mean really loved a movie? Multiple viewings loving a movie, including popping your own copy into the DVD player as well as catching it on cable tv in a hotel room and finding that you're unable to click away from it? Even though one little flaw makes you just a little bit crazy while you watch? I must confess I love The Butcher's Wife. I love the whimsical frothiness of it. I love how it looks from how it is photographed to the sets to the costumes. I love how all the characters yearn to find a particular something in their lives that seems just beyond their reach. I love the two Jewish ladies who on a daily basis haul their lawn chairs down to the urban sidewalk to keep an eye on the neighborhood happenings. I love how everything, as Marina says, has a way of working itself out. Sigh. So, you must be wondering, what peevish detail irritates me in the midst of all this adoration. And the answer is, Demi Moore attempting to pull off a Southern accent. It's not really her fault. According to the film credits Ms. Moore was dialect coached by one of Hollywood's best, Carla Meyer. Didn't director Terry Hughes note how often Ms. Moore strayed from sounding even the teensiest bit authentically Southern? Couldn't they have fixed it during a post-production looping session? Or maybe the finished product was as good as it ever got. All I have to say is, the absence of an accent is always preferable to a poorly performed one. And some actors just can't pull off sounding like anyone but themselves. For this viewer, the sound of the movie experience is right up there with the visual.

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